2008 Performance of the year (11/1):
What a way to end a great racing season!
I came in with a strong training PR of 43:15 on a flat track when I felt exceptionally strong. I knew that I was in good shape and relatively stable as far as the pills were concerned but the course was fairly hilly so I did not expect to PR. Anything in the 44s would have been acceptable, a high 43 would be better than average but I never expected to come in under 43.
Pre-race: left work an hour early and drove the 90 minutes to Birmingham so I could save $5 by registering the day before the race. I talked a co-worker in running this one with me and we met for dinner at a Bar and Grill. I chose to stay in a hotel within a half mile of the starting line rather than get up before dawn and risk being late because of a traffic jam. Good call. Everything went smoothly on race morning and after a good warm up, I was set to go.
The plan was to go out a hair under 7:00 , run an even effort on the uphill and hope for a fast 5th and 6th mile.
Good start, felt strong and relaxed. I looked down at my GPS to find that I was under 6:30 pace in the first quarter mile. Okay, time to slow down. I hit the first mile right on target then considered the slowdown in the previous ¾ mile and decided to pick it up a tad. I felt great at 2 miles, slightly ahead of schedule. The hills came about a ¼ mile later and I reminded myself, “Even effort.” My breathing became a little labored but I held my position well and actually passed a few runners. I passed 5K right at 21:37 so an even split would get me a PR and I was nearly at the top of the hill. Once I hit the downhill, I got right back on pace. There would be a couple of mild inclines in mile 4 but it was probably net downhill. Mile 4 was right on pace then I hit a steep downhill around 4.5 and rolled past 3 runners. I was in a rhythm on the downhill and always find it hard to run the flats after going downhill for so long but I would hit the 5 mile split at a new PR for that distance. With one mile to go, I knew that I only needed run a 7:00 pace to go under 43:00 and I was slightly under that. I felt that I should have started my kick earlier but with 200 to go, I saw 3 runners about 10 yards ahead of me, including one that I had met before. There was no way that any of them would beat me to the finish line. I crossed the line with an unofficial watch time of 42:43 (timing mats malfunctioned), gun time was 42:47. I raised my arms in triumph and let out a yell. Even last year, a low 21 would have been a very good 5K for me. Now, I can do it twice with hills and no break. I’ve come a long way from the 26:xx 5K just over 2 years ago. Next up: short break then Mercedes half.
1:45 (.3 on Garmin, 6:00 )* last 200 was much faster than that.
42:43 –PR by 32 secs.